The University of Cape Town, plagued by crime on its campuses, partnered with police and the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID), and the relationship forged has seen a drastic reduction in certain crimes over the past two months.
University of Cape Town vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng said the safety of the university’s students and staff remained one of the its key responsibilities, and she assured that all security matters were under scrutiny.
Phakeng said the Campus Protection Services (CPS) operated 24/7 and was committed to maintaining the safety of University of Cape Town and the wider community, safeguarding their property, while maintaining order in accordance with university policies. She said officers operated from centres at UCT, patrolling campuses on foot, in marked cars and through live CCTV feeds. She said several changes and initiatives had been put in place.
She said their partnership with the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District had yielded a 66.67% reduction in robberies with aggravating circumstances, and a 69.23% reduction in the theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles between August last year and September 2019.
Phakeng said perimeter security had been improved, in collaboration with the GSCID, across all campuses to increase security presence and to deter opportunistic offenders.
Phakeng encouraged staff and students to consider car pools, to avoid parking in unprotected off-campus side streets and/or to move their vehicles closer to campus during daylight and busier times.
However, student organisations were sceptical about the initiatives. The secretary of the SRC, Asemahle Ntumntum said University of Cape Town was not doing all it could. Ntumntum said that right after some of their safety measures were implemented, students were still getting mugged at the Middle Campus, and some were even held at gunpoint despite claims by the university.
DA Students Organisation chairperson Luke Albert welcomed UCT’s CPS deployment saying UCT is an open campus, and hoped management would engage the City of Cape Town with possible solutions in the area, as crime in the community directly affects safety on campus.
Phakeng said students and staff should be aware of their surroundings, particularly of people in their environment.
More: Cape Argus